Birth of a 4-axis CNC machine #10: The F-150 gambit... Git er done!

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Blog entry by DS posted 05-11-2014 10:50 PM 2655 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Control panel layout and wiring Part 10 of Birth of a 4-axis CNC machine series Part 11: Z-Axis comes together »

Well, me, myself and I had a come to Jesus meeting and decided that if I wanted to get this machine built in my lifetime I was going to need to take drastic measures.

When I add up all the parts and software I still need to complete the machine and begin producing amazing onlays, moldings and turnings, it came to nearly $7000!

How was I going to do this at my current pace? Fact is, that I wasn’t going to finish anytime soon.
So, I decided to sell my beautiful F-150 and use the money to finish the build.

A couple of things factored into my decision process.

1) being diabetic and having had a major heart attack last year, my odds of being around in the next ten years keep getting less and less likely. So, I needed to finish sooner rather than later.
2) now that I have a long work commute each day, I bought a fuel efficient car (2013 Altima gets 38mpg – no lie) and my 15 mpg F-150 has been mostly garaged for the last six months.
3) while I will need a truck to haul materials once the machine is running, there will be no need unless the machine is actually running.
4) I figure I can produce about $1k per day of product on the machine at full capacity and that at that pace it can buy me a brand new truck in short order.

So, the gambit is on.
The truck is sold.
The money is in the bank.
I need to execute my plan in order to succeed.

Wish me luck!

P.s. A few cool things happened once I made this decision.
1) a local hardwood supplier has offered to supply me with pre made wood blanks and to carry my finished products in their catalog. (Solving the time consuming need to glue up and mill the blanks and giving me a direct outlet to my ultimate customers)
2) a local, well established, interior designer has agreed to lend her name and expertise to developing a product line specifically geared around the capabilities of the machine.

Of course, now, the pressure is on to finish the build.
I’ll keep you updated. Thanks for following along.

UPDATE: I’ve ordered several parts for both the x and z axis mechanics and the sparks are flying!

After swapping my 60t carbide blade for a metal cutting blade, I got the x axis rack gears trimmed to length and mounting holes drilled.
The z axis linear rails needed a slight trim as well. It was like Fourth of July came early!

Another driver arrived for the “fifth” axis stepper motor. Ok, it is not technically a fifth working axis, but rather the tool changer carousel motor. It still needed a driver and that arrived. I keep trying to figure out whether I need another power supply for it or if I can piggy back it on top of one that would be idle during a tool change event.

I decided to add an I2C 16 port I/O expansion card to the netduino controller. It will be slower driving from this card, so it will only handle all non time sensitive input and output signals, like motor enable, motor direction and LCD display data. All time critical signals will still be direct driven from the controller. As far as the controller goes, ipm, ( inches per minute) is everything.

Progress is progressing…

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

10 comments so far

View JL7's profile


8785 posts in 3970 days

#1 posted 05-12-2014 01:11 AM

Good Luck DS….that is a big sacrifice. Sounds like you have some great connections set up to keep the machine busy…..

Can’t wait to see the finish…...

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View firefighterontheside's profile


21359 posts in 2862 days

#2 posted 05-12-2014 01:16 AM

Wow, that’s a grand plan. I wish you well. The thought of selling my truck to purchase woodworking equipment would never cross my mind. I NEED my truck.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2554 days

#3 posted 05-12-2014 01:37 AM

Good luck to you, sounds like you have motivation and a plan. I’m with Bill M., I would never give up the Chevy.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10961 posts in 5058 days

#4 posted 05-12-2014 03:41 AM

I wish you LUCK!

Keep up the good work!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3619 days

#5 posted 05-12-2014 05:28 AM

Good Luck DS,sometimes you just got to go for it win ,lose or draw one thing for sure if you dont go for it it want happen

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Julian's profile


1620 posts in 3696 days

#6 posted 05-12-2014 03:14 PM

Selling your truck is a serious commitment. You should plan on being around for a lot more than 10 years. Good luck with your project.

-- Julian

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4340 days

#7 posted 05-12-2014 05:01 PM

My hat’s off to you DS! Making good decisions and executing them at the right time are the key to success, and your story shows that your head is working 100% efficiently even if the rest isn’t. I can’t wait to see the finished machine and what it can produce. Best of luck with it!!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3680 days

#8 posted 05-13-2014 12:09 AM

Define your goal….
Develop a plan….
Eliminate obstacles….
Get to it, to do it!!!

What are you doing reading this post???
You are supposed to be building your CNC!!! ;^)

Good luck. Looking forward to watching the “fast forward” build!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View DS's profile


3673 posts in 3426 days

#9 posted 05-18-2014 02:06 PM

Update: I’ve ordered a whole bunch of parts to finish out the x and z axis.
See details above.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9811 posts in 3334 days

#10 posted 05-31-2014 03:12 PM

Happy to see you making progress!

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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